WMC Limited

Cleaner Production In Sensitive Arid Zones: WMC Limited

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Courtesy of WMC Limited

 WMC Limited (WMC) has progressively introduced process changes at its Olympic Dam mine site and processing plant in the arid north of South Australia to reduce its water consumption per unit of production, and is continuing to investigate further water conservation possibilities.


Background

WMC is one of Australia's largest mining companies. Its main business is the discovery, development and processing of mineral resources.
The company owns huge underground reserves of copper, uranium, silver and gold at Olympic Dam in South Australia, and has invested some 1.1 billion Australian dollars in an integrated underground mine and processing plant to extract these minerals. The company produces refined copper, gold and silver, and uranium oxide concentrate and is currently spending a further 1.6 billion dollars to significantly expand operations.

The mine is close to the rim of the Great Artesian Basin, which covers 1.7 million square kilometres in the Northern Territory and three Australian States. The Basin is one of the largest sedimentary basins in the world. It is estimated that 425 million litres of water flow into the South Australian section of the Basin each day. The overall flow is so large that water under pressure seeps to the surface in mound springs throughout several regions of arid South Australia. These springs are of high conservation significance, and WMC has a comprehensive monitoring program for the springs and also the bores in the south-west region of the Basin.

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